New genetic technologies: corporate control over regulation
A report by Corporate Europe Observatory reveals how the biotech industry is trying to shape rules to allow the entry of new technologies for genetically modified organisms (GMOs). The industry has revived the discourse it used 20 years ago to pave the way for new genetic engineering techniques, and it has launched a European-level lobby with the goal of getting as many techniques as possible excluded from European Union regulation. Large biotech companies like Bayer, Monsanto and Dow AgroSciences have registered dozens of patents on new genetic engineering techniques. These techniques allow them to make one or more changes to an existing variety with a strong market position – such as the Gala apple – and charge higher prices to producers due to the patent. Social and farmers’ organizations have united to demand regulation of the products obtained through these new techniques, and ultimately stronger legislation on GMOs.